The greatest influence our children would have is us, their parents. We taught them how to talk and guided them as they started to walk. It's funny when I see kids walk and talk like their parents. It's like looking at mini versions of Mom and Dad. Not only do we pass on physical traits and mannerisms, we also intentionally and unintentionally pass on to them the values that we want them to have. Because I homeschool our kids, I would say that I am my children's greatest influence, not to exclude my husband, of course. But since I am with them 24/7 I have more opportunity to teach them and impact them in a positive way.
When I talk to Coby, our eldest, somehow I could see some semblance of me in him. I claim or even argue that he looks like me but some people insist that he is a little Peewee. Go figure :-) Aside from the physical aspect, I see his interest in writing, creating his own stories and cooking as well. But the most striking trait he got from me are my exasperated expressions like "Hay naku!"
He expresses this phrase exactly the same way I do especially when he is dealing with his younger sister, Jianne. From the tone, to the facial expression and hand gestures, it's all me. The first time I saw this I thought it was kinda cute but then again, it's not a good thing. I would hear him talk to his sister in a mean way and I would always call his attention and correct him. I would even ask him, "Why do you speak like that to your sister? Why are you so mean?" I could sense that he feels there is nothing wrong with what he said maybe because I could be mean to him too at times. He would feel ashamed afterwards and say sorry to his sister.
Somehow Coby's negative behavior only mirrors what I do when I do not control my tongue. But the Lord is good at reminding me of my weakness and my need to tame my tongue. Realizing, again, that I used harsh words on him, asking for forgiveness is the next thing to do.
Did you know that the tongue is the most powerful muscle in the body? Such great power for a tiny part of the body. Likewise, in the words that we use to communicate with other people, our children or our spouse, we forget that the words that we speak have so much impact on other people that we end up either encouraging them or hurting them.
James 1: 19 says, Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.
James 3:5-6 In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches.But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. 6 And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.
We, as parents, are the primary life teachers of our children. Let us not let our our anger and our untamed tongues influence them. Instead, we should acknowledge that we cannot parent our children by ourselves. We need someone who is the best example of patience and love and this is our our Heavenly Father who richly gives us everything we need. He will give us the patience, the wisdom, and compassion to bring up our children the way He wants us.